Introduction about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Bharat Ratna Sardar Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel, (born 31 October 1875, Nadiad, Gujarat.), was a barrister by profession, a senior leader of the Indian National Congress and among one of the founding fathers of the Republic of India.
He was respectfully called Sardar by his colleagues and followers during the satyagraha against steep tax hikes in a famine hit Bardoli in 1928. He organised farmers from Kheda, Borsad, and Bardoli in Gujarat in non-violent civil disobedience against the British Raj and quickly rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress.
In 1930, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was imprisoned for his participation in Mahatma Gandhi’s salt satyagraha. He had led the Satyagraha when Gandhiji was imprisoned, at the request of the congress members. Sardar Patel was freed in 1931, following the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The same year, Sardar Patel was elected as the President of Indian National Congress in its Karachi session the dream of a secular India was conceived.
In 1942 Sardar Patel extended his unwavering support to Mahatma Gandhi for the Quit India Movement. He travelled throughout the country and gathered support for the Quit India movement and was arrested again in 1942. He was imprisoned in the Ahmednagar fort till 1945 along with other Congress leaders.
As the first Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India, he took up the task of integrating the princely states into the Republic of India at the request of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the de facto Supreme Commander-in-chief of Indian army during the political integration of India and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947.
He is the architect of independent India and united a scattered nation without any bloodshed. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna in 1991.
Why Sardar Patel is known as "Iron Man of India"
A charismatic leader who spoke straight from his heart, respected the opinion of those who disagreed with him – Sardar Patel, strongly believed in the unity of Indians who fought the British together and their ability to progress from ‘Swarajya’ to ‘Surajya’. He was a staunch believer in equality, stood for women empowerment and self-sufficiency through rapid industrialisation.
15 facts about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Fact 1 – Integration of 562 princely states into the Republic of India
Diplomacy, negotiations and his great foresight helped Sardar Patel integrate the numerous princely states into the Indian Union without bloodshed. His efforts in uniting a scattered nation lives on as his biggest legacy, where his powers of persuasion and his statesmanship came into full play.
Fact 2 – Contributions to the Constituent Assembly
Sardar Patel played an important role in the selection of members of the drafting committee. He took a strong stand on key issues such as fundamental rights, the position of the prime minister, the election procedure of the President and the status of Kashmir. He worked to ensure that the princely states accepted the constitution of India – a pivotal step towards unification of India.
Fact 3 – The founder of Modern All India Services
Sardar Patel was instrumental in the founding the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. He ensured the defence of Indian civil servants from political attack and is remembered as the "patron saint" of India's services.
Fact 4 – The protector of Kashmir
In September of 1947, when Pakistan attempted to invade Kashmir, Sardar Patel ruthlessly protected Kashmir from Pakistan. Nehru passed on reports to Patel that forces in Pakistan were “making preps to enter Kashmir in large numbers”. On October 26, at a meeting held in Nehru’s house, Patel promised Mehr Chand Mahajan, the Prime Minister of Maharaja Hari Singh, that India will extend her unwavering support to Kashmir.
Fact 5 – A strong leader of the Non-cooperation Movement
During the Non-Cooperation Movement he toured the country and recruited 300,000 members and collected Rs 15 lakhs towards the party fund. His support to the Non-cooperation movement and Gandhian ideals of satyagraha, aided by his oratory skills – short but straight from the heart, would mark the beginning of mass participation in the Indian freedom struggle.
Fact 6 – The ‘Sardar’ of Indian satyagraha in absence of Gandhiji
He led the Satyagraha in Nagpur in 1923 against the British law banning the hoisting of the Indian flag. He was a great orator, leader and unifier who in the absence of Mahatmaji kept the spirits of the satyagraha. Patel negotiated a settlement, which involved the release of prisoners and hoisting of the national flag in public.
Fact 7 – A strong voice against untouchability, caste discrimination and a voice for emancipation of women
In 1922 a session of the Indian National Congress, when Sardar Patel a separate enclosure for the Dalits, instead of occupying a seat earmarked for him in the main enclosure, he straightway proceeded to the enclosure meant for Dalits and sat there and delivered his speech from that enclosure.
During the Bardoli Satyagraha, Sardar Patel consulted with large number of women to prepare the strategy of the Satyagraha and brought them into the lexicon of politics. Sardar Patel’s support to the Hindu Code Bill brought out his commitment to the rights of women and their empowerment, by ensuring every citizen was treated equal.
Fact 8 – The strongest advocate of Secular India
In June 1947, when he was suggested that India should be declared a Hindu state, with Hinduism as the official religion, Sardar Patel rejected the suggestion. Sardar Patel strongly endorsed Mahatmaji’s vision for a Secular India, and said “we must not forget that there are other minorities whose protection is our primary responsibility “. In 1950, he declared that “Ours is a secular state and we cannot fashion our politics in the way Pakistan is doing it. Here every Muslim should feel that he is an Indian citizen and has equal rights as an Indian “.
Fact 9 – Iron fist against the perpetrators of Mahatmaji’s assassination
Sardar Patel banned the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. In a letter to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee written on 18 July, 1948, Sardar Patel said “as [a] result of the activities of these two bodies [the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha], particularly the former, an atmosphere was created in the country in which such a ghastly tragedy became possible. There is no doubt in my mind the extreme section of Hindu Mahasabha was involved in this conspiracy. The activities of the RSS constituted a clear threat to the existence of the Government and the State.
Fact 10 – A strong voice for communal harmony and against violence
In 1949, a mob descended upon the Babri Masjid, chased away the muezzin, installed an idol of Ram in an attempt to claim it as a temple. Sardar Patel wrote to the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, GB Pant, that “there can be no question of resolving such disputes by force”. Patel opined that “such matters can be resolved peacefully if we take the willing consent of the Muslim community with us”
Fact 11 – Building of the party machinery in the struggle for freedom
Mahatmaji gave the Congress a programme for broad-based action. Sardar Patel built up the Party machinery to carry out that programme, ensuring the wide participation of masses. He realised the pivotal role of a party machinery in the struggle for freedom, something that went unnoticed before him. He realised this need during his campaigns and devoted his organisational talents and energy to building up the strength of the Party which could now fight in an organised and effective manner.
Fact 12 – The fight for self-rule
In the fight for self-rule Sardar Patel’s contributions began when he became the sanitation commissioner of Ahmedabad in 1917. He then became the Municipal President in 1922, 1924, 1927. He ensured electricity supply and educational reforms came to Ahmedabad, with the limited resources and power at his disposal.
Fact 13 – The farmer’s Sardar
His devotion to work for the farmers' rights gave Patelji the title "Sardar". In 1918, he led the 'No Tax Campaign' and urged the farmers not to pay taxes after the British imposed heavy taxes after the floods in Kaira. In 1928, the farmers of Bardoli again faced massive tax hikes and the government seized their lands in retaliation when farmers were unable to pay the heavy taxes. After negotiations by Patel, the lands were returned to farmers.
Fact 14 – The saviour of refugees, weak and marginalised
In the intense violence that ensued as a consequence of partition of India in 1947 Sardar Patel led organising of relief camps, providing emergency supplies, and visited border areas to encourage peace.
Fact 15 – Foresight and vision
The first Gujarati typewriter was commissioned by Sardar Patel in 1924 for the Ahmedabad municipality. He also stood for the transformation of the country into an industrial power. Sardar Patel aided the setting up of a public health laboratory within Dudheshwar waterworks at Shahibaugh.